Thursday, August 31, 2006

A truly good wife is the most precious treasure a man can find! Proverbs 31:10(cev)
Any man who has found a "truly good wife" knows this to be true. Now, my wife doesn't make my clothes or sell clothes to shop owners, but she does take care of her family.
Well, that's it, the book of Proverbs. I truly hope that you've enjoyed it and that some of you non-Christians, who may have never read the Bible before, found the wisdom to be inspiring and true. Truth is truth.
I encourage you to keep reading Proverbs so that the wisdom will stay with you. They say (whoever "they" are) that it takes about 16 times reading or hearing something for it to truly stick. I also encourage you to read some of the books in my recommended reading list. Almost all of the ones on personal growth and business contain many of the same ideas that we've seen in Proverbs.
Thanks for your participation. Be wise.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

If you churn milk you get butter; if you pound on your nose, you get blood--and if you stay angry, you get in trouble. Proverbs 30:33 (cev)
I've never made butter, but this makes sense to me because the nose thing and angry thing are true (so true, especially together).
Notice, too, verses 7-9. This is known as Agur's prayer. It seems to me to be very wise in its simplicity and understanding.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking. Proverbs 29:20 (cev)
OH NO! There is more hope for fools than there is for me! I've been guilty of engaging the mouth before the brain was activated. The result is usually similar to verse 1:
If you keep being stubborn after many warnings, you will suddenly discover
you have gone too far.
It's okay to admit you've been here too. I think it's part of the human experience, but remember, wise people learn from their mistakes. Hang it there, acquiring wisdom is like a cooking with a crock pot-- it takes awhile.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Don't be selfish and eager to get rich--you will end up worse off than you can imagine. Proverbs 28:22 (cev)
How many "Get Rich Quick" schemes have resulted in bankruptcy? How many "sure things" weren't? How many opportunities to "receive millons from Nigeria" have turned out to be scams? If it sounds too good to be true--IT IS.
Don't brag about yourself-- let others praise you. Proverbs 27:2(cev)
Think about the number of professional athletes, politicians and co-workers that brag on themselves. Doesn't it get on your nerves? I believe people should claim good work but realize that humility endears you to those around you. Bragging is just a turn off.
Also, setting yourself up on a pedestal only prepare you for a fall the first off-day you have. Then you're full of excuses that come off as whining. Whining shows a lack of character. So, bragging on yourself must show a lack of character. Hmmm...from all of the examples runnng through my mind, the Bible DOES make sense.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Watch out for anyone who tells lies and flatters—they are out to get you. Proverbs 26:28 (cev)
I think we can agree that most of the time when someone flatters us they are either selling something or have ulterior motives. Consider, too, people you know that will speak badly about a co-worker when that person is not around but are just “best friends” with that person when they are face-to-face. Solomon is warning us to be wary of people that are full of compliments and praise. They may not have your best interest in mind.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Broken promises are worse than rain clouds that don't bring rain. Proverbs 25:14 (cev)

Don't visit friends too often, or they will get tired of it and start hating you. Proverbs 25:17 (cev)

It's like God's been reading your mail. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Don't give up and be helpless in times of trouble. Proverbs 24:10(cev)

I may have mentioned before that I struggle with keeping a positive attitude from time to time. This week it has been one of those times. It seems nothing I've laid my hands to lately has worked out right. I'm questioning myself, my abilities and my purpose. For me that usually starts a domino effect of negative thought until rock bottom is achieved, but just when I feel most helpless, I find this verse reminding me to keep going. (Rockin' timing or what?)

Perseverance is paramount to living an effective life. I guess we find the inspiration and motivation when we most need it. I’m feeling better now. Life is not easy--hang in there.
Do not be awe struck by other people and try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as you can. -Norman Vincent Peale

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Don't be a heavy drinker or stuff yourself with food. It will make you feel drowsy, and you will end up poor with only rags to wear. Proverbs 23:20-21(cev)
Solomon makes the point very clear that if you are lazy, then you should not expect too much out of life. Here we find that excesses in food and alcohol will cause you to become unable to achieve your goals (unless you desire to be a pot-bellied boozehound waiting for a coronary thrombosis).

Reality check for a moment: Laziness is a disease. It corrupts your initiative, your body and your ability to fulfill your purpose. No one who ever achieved anything, big or small, did it without getting off their proverbial butt and doing something. Proverbs 22:13 tells us that lazy people are full of excuses. (I remind my son of this often.)
So I ask: What is your excuse?
Hopefully you don’t have one, but I challenge you that if you do have an excuse that you realize it is nothing more than a hurdle on achieving your goals. Your resources (time, money, energy) are directed toward your priorities. True, we spread ourselves thin and we can’t do everything, but realize when things become a priority in your life, your excuses tend to fall away.

For example, I would like to spend more time building puppets, but family and church commitments keep a large portion of my time occupied. But, guess what, God and family are more important to me than building puppets. Building is more important to me than watching TV. And my neighbors would tell you EVERYTHING is more important to me than mowing my lawn. (Boy, we came a long way from don’t be a heavy drinker. I should quit now.)

If you would like to start eliminating excuses in your life, I would like to recommend reading QBQ: The question behind the question by John Miller.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Teach your children right from wrong, and when they are grown they will still do right. Proverbs 22:6 (cev)

I am holding on to this verse as a promise and a hope for the future of my children. Unfortunately this works both ways—whether or not my children choose my profession, they will follow in my footsteps. Every time I get angry, I am assured they will get angry at times. Every time I make wise decisions, I am sure that they will make wise decisions in their life. My kids are aware (even if sometimes I hate to admit it) of my actions and they will undoubtedly have similar actions. They will follow where I lead.

Bonus thought:
Notice the very next verse (22:7):

The poor are ruled by the rich, and those who borrow are slaves of moneylenders.

Think about this, I work to make money, but most of my money goes to the bank to pay for stuff I went in debt to acquire. Even though I am not a bank employee, I work for the bank. I add to their bottom line with the interest I pay. They set my payment. They set my interest rate. They have (to an extent) control me. (I wouldn't have to work as long or as hard if I didn't have payments.)

Verses 6 and 7 are both favorites of mine, however I didn't see the relation until Dave Ramsey pointed out their proximity to each other. Maybe we should teach children about this money stuff early so that went they get older they will not be slaves to the bank. Hmmm….
I have two puppets now posted for sale. You've probably seen "Uncle Albert", but check out "Cleo". She's a dual purpose puppet that can be used as either a standard hand/rod puppet or as a soft vent figure.

Monday, August 21, 2006

If you plan and work hard, you will have plenty; if you get in a hurry, you will end up poor. Proverbs 21:5 (cev)
Again, I am reminded of Dave Ramsey and his lessons on budgeting. Before, we routinely paid overdraft charges because we were bouncing checks. Often we didn't know where the next house payment was coming from. Sloppy and stupid, I admit.

Since learning from Dave, we take the time to set out a plan for our money (known as a budget). We have not paid any overdraft charges and the mortgage gets paid on time without worry. As long as we take the time to make a plan and execute it, then there is plenty. It's absolutely amazing.

I know I talk a lot about Dave Ramsey, but really you should check out "The Total Money Makeover" in my recommended reading section. You should be able to read it in an evening or two. It is life changing stuff.
I've been away from my computer this weekend and I am heavily involved in some non-puppet related projects, so here are the verses from Saturday and Sunday. I'm sorry I don't have comments, but if you think of your own experiences or people you know, these two verses are golden. I'll try to add comments as the week allows.
Getting rich quick may turn out to be a curse. Proverbs 20:21 (cev) The key word is "quick".

If you stop learning, you will forget what you already know. Proverbs 19:27 (cev) I am a walking example of this.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Being cheerful helps when we are sick, but nothing helps when we give up. Proverbs 18:14(cev)
Ms. Ann was a pillar in our church when she was diagnosed with cancer. She became a stronger pillar as she fought the disease. As she underwent surgeries and treatments, she never lost her will or her smile. She always focused on serving others even while her body was being ravaged by her illness. She was instrumental in our WMU program and taught my children the importance of missions even as she taught me way back when. Ms. Ann passed away about two weeks ago leaving a hole in our church, but she was and is an inspiration to all of us who knew her.
She relied on her faith. She lived this verse. She never gave up.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It makes a lot of sense to be a person of few words and to stay calm. Proverbs 17:27 (cev)
I started looking for a verse to discuss today and several came to mind. This one stuck out so much that I wrote it down and stuck it on my computer monitor. This is good.
I started to use verse 28 " Even fools seem smart when they are quiet." because it put me in mind of Mark Twain.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool
than to open it and remove all doubt. ~ Mark Twain
I've been pretty serious this week and this makes me smile. Other great verses in this chapter are:
family/relationships-- 1, 6, 9, 17, 25
wisdom-- 10, 16, 24

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

August 16

Good judgment proves that you are wise, and if you speak kindly, you can teach others. Proverbs 16:21 (cev)

As I mentioned yesterday, my quest for financial peace has sparked a personal growth revolution in me and one of my goals as a father is to impart the things I am learning now to my children. Its one of those "If I knew then..." ideas that makes me want to transfer a little of my "now" to their "then".

My son (8) is stubborn--so stubborn that I often become reactive to his strong-willed attempts to challenge my authority. So instead of bestowing wisdom (by speaking kindly), we usually have a war of words that frustrates us both. (Occasionally, we can have a deep conversation in which understanding is attained.)

I love my son (and daughter) dearly and I only want what is best for him. Also, I know I can't control him either--I can only guide and coach him through life. When I am reactive to his "childishness"(after all, he's just a kid), I lose precious teachable moments. I am placing self-imposed "trip hazards" between me and my fatherhood goals.

Which brings me back to my lack of good judgment and proof that I am not yet wise. (It's a vicious cycle once you're in it.) But it reminds me of a story:
One day a grandchild asked his grandfather how he had gotten so wise. The grandfather replied that he was wise because he had good judgment. After pondering this, the grandchild asked how you get good judgment to which the grandfather replied, "From experience." Quickly the child asked "How do you get experience?" The grandfathers answer: "By not being wise."

At least I'm on the right track.

By the way, my relationship with my son has taught me more about my relationship with God. He's crazy about me and he only wants what's best for me. I've got good news: He feels the same way about you.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

August 15

Without good advice everything goes wrong-- it takes careful planning for things to go right. Proverbs 15:22 (cev)
I try to be a planner but my plans often go awry (to adapt a line from Robert Burns). My wife and I are graduates of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. I often speak about Dave and if you aren't familiar with him, he is a financial counselor and radio host whose claim to fame is encouraging people to rid themselves of debt in order to build wealth and his program has worked for tens of thousands people if not more. (He is firmly grounded in Proverbs by the way.) He teaches people to do what he calls the baby steps in his book "The Total Money Makeover". I have three of his books and I must say this man has found his purpose in life.

In adapting his program, I have undergone life changing paradigm shifts and have developed this search for what makes successful people (wealthy or not) successful. I have found that hard work, vision and positive attitude are keys to success, so I try to model myself with these characteristics. Some days are better than others.

Without straying too far off subject, one of the basic tools to achieving financial peace is a cash flow plan and like our verse suggests, good advice when making a plan helps foster success. Lately my plan has gone awry and I know why. In an effort to speed up our debt elimination plan, I laid out a tight budget without consulting my wife. Now the amount I specified to go toward debt elimination is not as large as hoped. I did not foresee some expenses because I didn't ask. Without good advice everything goes wrong.
"The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” -Robert Burns (To a Mouse)
As a note: My wife and I have eliminated over $45K of debt in almost 3 years. We are so close to the finish line (except the house), and I am just aching to get there. Some people think we're crazy, but how much money would you have to spend, save or give if you didn't have credit card, car or house payments? I urge you to check out Dave.

Monday, August 14, 2006

August 14

Here are some of my favorite verses ever. They are self-explanatory. Test them to find they are true.

Proverbs 14:--- (cev)

7 Stay away from fools, or you won't learn a thing.

10 No one else can really know how sad or happy you are.

13 Sorrow may hide behind laughter, and happiness may end in sorrow.

15 Don't be stupid and believe all you hear; be smart and know where you are headed.

17 Fools have quick tempers, and no one likes you if you can't be trusted.

18 Stupidity leads to foolishness; be smart and learn.

23 Hard work is worthwhile, but empty talk will make you poor.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

August 13

It's a good feeling to get what you want, but only a stupid fool hates to turn from evil. Proverbs 13:19 (cev)
I really like the New Living Translation of this verse: It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools will not turn from evil to attain them. It puts me in mind of a friend of mine.
My friend and his newlywed wife are both working in slightly-above-minimum-wage jobs and are expecting a new baby in January. Both of their cars are "aging", they have a substantial amount of credit card debt and they have just purchased a home. To say the least, their financial picture is bleak.

My friend often comes over bemoaning this reality and in the next breath start telling me about his next vacaton and how he hopes to renovate his new home. I have tried to point out the folly in his "plan" and encouraged him to listen and read Dave Ramsey (life changing stuff). I have even offered to walk with him on this journey and mentor him in the process to no avail.
I am not saying his choices are evil (unwise, yes; evil, not necessarily), however he is unwilling to do what it takes to secure his financial future or that of his child. I fear it will end badly for him. The funny thing is that he can tell you what he watched on TV last night or whether or not the latest movie is worth seeing (as he has seen it already).
I figured out that this world owes me nothing other than what I am willing to sacrifice to gain. To say the least, I am blessed beyond my efforts.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

August 12

Be sensible and don't tell everything you know-- only fools spread foolishness everywhere. Proverbs 12:23 (cev)
I think this is pretty self-explanatory. It's true in business. It's true in life. It goes along with "You will say the wrong thing if you talk too much-- " Proverbs 10:19a (cev) Sometimes it's best to keep your mouth closed.
I have a few copies spiral bound hard copies (real books) of my book "Wanna Bite of Elephant?" left over from the seminar yesterday. I also have the e-book available on CD-Rom. $12 for the hard copy. $10 for the CD ($2 s&h). If you would like one, e-mail me at .

August 11

Sometimes you can become rich by being generous or poor by being greedy.
Proverbs 11:24(cev)
I've heard it's better to give than recieve and I've found it is true. There's no greater blessing than giving a gift, large or small, that impacts someones lives. We cannot fathom how much our daily contact with others affects their lives, good or bad. Joy that comes from giving is something cannot be measured with the gold standard.
I've said time and time again that I think the true root of sin is selfishness. (All of those who aren't Christians read this as "selfishness is the underlying cause of alot of problems". I told you I wouldn't get preachy.) So, what is the opposite of this? Selflessness. So, live selflessly, live generously and live well, because you never know what good things can come your way by one act of kindess.
God Bless You

Thursday, August 10, 2006

August 10

You will say the wrong thing if you talk too much-- so be sensible and watch what you say. Proverbs 10:19 (cev)

I am reminded of a famous quote by a famous personality:
Let’s beat it kids, I went too far – Homer Simpson

I know people who flap at the mouth constantly and it seems they spend half of their time trying to get out of situations that were caused by saying the wrong thing. Don’t be one of those. Chapter 10 is phenomenal in wisdom. I had a hard time selecting one verse to spot light. I absolutely love verses 4, 14, 15, and 26.

Tomorrow I will not be posting as I will be teaching a seminar based on "Wanna Bite of Elephant?" which I am proud to say will soon be available as a hard copy (real book) and as an e-book on cd-rom.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

August 9

Correct a worthless bragger, and all you will get are insults and injuries. Proverbs 9:7 (cev)
Have you ever had to correct a "Know-It-All"? How dare you question their knowledge, accuracy or judgement? Surely, they can tell you all about Proverbs 9:7.
I personally don't enjoy being corrected per se, but I would rather be corrected that be wrong. I urge you to listen to constructive criticism and grow from it, but also take it with a grain of salt.
Solomon also tells us in Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 Don't listen to everything that everyone says, or you might hear your servant cursing you. Haven't you cursed many others? (cev) Opinions and whispers are everywhere and just like everything else, you must prayerfully analyze and weigh each criticism to see if it is good or bad. Consider what people say, but don't be like the worthless bragger in today's verse.
Oh yeah, don't talk about others behind their backs, either. Someone may be eavesdropping on you. Remember: Guard your thoughts, they control your life.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

August 8

Every honest leader rules with help from me (wisdom). Proverbs 8:16 (cev)

How strong must the truth “Wisdom is valuable” be for Solomon to start almost every chapter with a reminder and dedicate entire passages to it’s worth?

Without discussing political ideology, us versus them or the world situation (world war) in general, I can say this verse in its simplicity is something we can all hope for our government leaders. This isn’t confined to the political realm, either. Anyone in a leadership position, from CEO to Scout Master (or puppet director) can only benefit from seeking wisdom. I encourage you, if you are in charge of anyone (parents?), to seek wisdom. The simple act will prompt those around you to do the same. In the long run everyone wins.

Check out my recommended reading list.

Monday, August 07, 2006

August 7

And so, she tricked him with all of her sweet talk and her flattery. Proverbs 7:21 (cev)

Again, another warning about the dangers of adultery and being seduced by an immoral woman. I would assume in Solomon's world, he never considered the fact that men, too, are often the aggressor. Either way, this is the second warning in 7 days. Maybe that should emphasize the importance of NOT messing around with married people who are not YOUR spouse.

Love, money and life...happening in Proverbs. Who would have thought? (I told you there was good stuff in here. )

August 6

I read on Sunday, I just didn't post. Sorry.
My child, suppose you agree to pay the debt of someone, who cannot repay a loan. Then you are trapped by your own words, and you are now in the power of someone else. Proverbs 6:1-3a (cev)

It is stupid to co-sign a loan for somebody. Obviously the lending institution didn't think the person seeking the loan could pay or they would have went ahead and loaned the money. Debt is readily available for people looking for it regardless of credit history so if a person can't get financing, they obviously can't afford it. Save up and pay cash.

My suggestion for personal finance: Dave Ramsey.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

August 5

The words of an immoral woman may be as sweet as honey and as smooth as olive oil. But all that you really get from being with her is bitter poison and pain. Proverbs 5:3-4(cev)

Chapter 5 deals mainly with the topic of adultery. Solomon makes a good point that applies to both men and women; beware of seduction. It is an easy trap to fall into and the repercussions are far reaching. It doesn’t matter if you are the seducer or the seduced. A moment of pleasure destroys families, careers, reputations and sometimes, life itself. I won’t comment on our society and its moral consciousness, but careful consideration of chapter 5 shows that it is all true. Adultery will disrupt your world.

Friday, August 04, 2006

August 4

Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life. Proverbs 4:23(cev)

I love this translation of this verse. The KJV tells us to keep our heart with diligence, but instead of being a verse about cardiovascular health (which is also very important), Solomon is telling us to watch what we think about.

It is a great truth: You are what you think you are and you become what you think about. If you think about things that are good, motivating and positive, you will find an abundance of those things in your life. If you think the opposite…well, we’ll just say “Eeyore”.

Its all about mindset. Norman Vincent Peale tells us “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” I know this to be TRUE.

Have a great weekend.

I will soon be posting a recommended reading list at It will contain a list of books that have impacted my life that you can find in your local library or online at

Thursday, August 03, 2006

August 3

Don't tell your neighbor to come back tomorrow, if you can help today. Proverbs 3:28(cev)

Zig Ziglar said "You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." John Miller teaches us in QBQ: The Question Behind the Question (an excellent book by the way) to not procrastinate and to stop asking "when" questions. “When” questions mean that you are waiting for somebody else to take responsibility to improve the situation instead of taking responsibility yourself.

I can't help think that these two very successful men embrace this priciple found in Proverbs and have used it to their benefit. I am a firm believer in reading as one of the easiest way to improve our lives. I reviewed QBQ in May of this year. It is well worth reading.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

August 2

Search for wisdom as you would search for silver or hidden treasure. Proverbs 2:4(cev)

In ancient Egypt, silver was often valued over gold. Wisdom is valuable worth seeking. In the New Living Translation (nlt), verse four says to search for wisdom like you would search for lost money. I interpret this as seek wisdom with urgency and fervor recognizing its value. Granted, the King James Version (kjv) doesn’t convey this sense of haste, but it does relate the value.

Wisdom is something you have to work to achieve. You’re not just going to trip over it on day and suddenly you are wise. It takes life long effort, but we are told the rewards associated with this venture; knowledge of what is right, just and fair, good judgment, understanding and the ability to recognize deception. Not a bad prize for reading wise text, taking time to analyze situations before acting and weaving universal truths into the fabric of your thinking.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The August Proverbs Challenge

I'm still working on my skit as there is a constant din of activity around here. I will let you know as soon as I get it finished.

There are 31 days in the month of August. Coincidentally, there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs found in the Bible. My challenge to you is to take a few moments to read one chapter a day during the month of August. The chapters are short (2-3 minutes), but powerful in wisdom. It is a good investment of your time.

Some of you who read this may immediately say “I am not a Christian and I have no interest in reading the Bible.” Fair enough-- but, though my beliefs may differ from your beliefs, my challenge to you is one of self-improvement. While the book of Proverbs adamantly proclaims that true wisdom comes from God, it also contains undeniable, universal truths regarding relationships, business and money. Non-Christians can still appreciate the wisdom in this book of the Bible, so I challenge you to lay aside your aversion. (At least read my blog this month. I promise to not get “preachy”.) makes available on-line 50 versions of the Bible in 35 different languages. Just type Proverbs (day) into the passage look up and select a version. I am partial to the New Living Translation and the Contemporary English version to help me understand what the traditional King James Version says. This month, my blog posts will use the Contemporary English version (cev).

I hope you will seize this opportunity for self-improvement whatever your belief system. Thanks for reading. I leave you with Proverbs 1:2 (cev):

Proverbs will teach you wisdom and self-control and how to understand sayings with deep meaning